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2:10 PM ET, August 13, 2011


 Top Items: 
Toby Harnden /
Fried food and retail politics at the Iowa State Fair  —  On the eve of the Ames Straw Poll, the Republican candidates made a last push for votes at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines - a huge spectacle in which cattle, pigs and horses are on display as well as politicians and Iowans queue …
Discussion: TBogg, Mediaite, Radio Iowa and emptywheel
A.Killough / CNN:
Bachmann involved in unusual campaign moment  —  Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann was at the center of an unusual campaign moment on Friday that involved reporters trying to ask her questions - and the Republican presidential candidate essentially being cocooned by a ring of protectors.
Molly Ball / The Politico:
Ames Straw Poll: A viewers guide  —  The task of interpreting straw poll results seems straightforward enough: Whoever gets the most votes wins; whoever gets the fewest loses.  —  But that's not how the campaigns, and the media horde closely covering them, look at things.
Discussion: CNN, Booman Tribune, Gothamist and Wonkette
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
Why Ames Actually Matters  —  It is easy to make fun of the Ames Straw Poll.  It can't exactly be described as democratic when you — or the candidate hoping to secure your vote — have to pay your way into the polls.  —  But Ames has a pretty good predictive track record.
Jonathan Martin / The Politico:
Ames straw poll forecast: Cloudy with chance of Pawlenty  —  DES MOINES—The winner of Saturday's Iowa GOP straw poll won't be known until sometime after 6 p.m. But you'll be able to hazard a good guess hours earlier simply by eye-balling the crowd gathered in and around the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University.
Niall Stanage / Ballot Box:
Perry's entrance to shake up the Republican presidential field
Discussion: CNN and Washington Wire
Iowa Caucuses:
Gay teen who heckled Bachmann speaks
Discussion: LGBTQ Nation and ThinkProgress
Patrik Jonsson / Christian Science Monitor:
To defuse ‘flash’ protest, BART cuts riders' cell service. Is that legal?
Discussion: Daily Kos and DownWithTyranny!
Eve Batey / SF Appeal:
BART Officer Contradicts Spokesperson, Says Transit Agency Did Block Cell Phone Service Thursday Night
Discussion: Crooks and Liars
Norman Podhoretz / Wall Street Journal:
What Happened to Obama?  Absolutely Nothing.  —  He is still the same anti-American leftist he was before becoming our president.  —  It's open season on President Obama.  Which is to say that the usual suspects on the right (among whom I include myself) are increasingly being joined …
Conservative Generation / Upstate Poltical Report:
Obama NY Fundraiser: the day the messiah compared himself to Cuomo and King  —  Obama's numbers are in the red in NY, but that's not half as interesting as how desperate and lost the President appeared at his own fundraiser.  —  Today, Obama flew out to NY for yet another fundraiser.
Azi Paybarah / PolitickerNY:
Obama Compares Himself to Cuomo; Weinstein Calls Andrew ‘An Angel’
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Mhovey / Rick Perry for President:
Why I'm Running  —  What I learned in my 20's traveling the globe as an Air Force pilot, our current president has yet to acknowledge in his 50's - that we are the most exceptional nation on the face of the earth.  —  As Americans, we believe freedom is a gift from God, and government's prime function is to defend it.
David Dayen / Firedoglake:
Ordinary Americans Continue to Deliver Progressive Messages at Republican Town Hall Meetings  —  Two years ago, a concerted effort by a corporate-funded Tea Party movement to get conservatives out to town hall meetings changed the dynamic in Washington on health care reform and paved …
Ann Althouse / Althouse:
Attack on Althouse at the Wisconsin Capitol singalong.  —  As discussed in an earlier post, a man attacked me today at the Capitol.  We captured the assault on 2 different cameras, and I'm not editing the material together (at least not at this point).  First, here's what Meade got on the Flip camera.
New York Times:
Faltering Rhode Island City Tests Vows to Pensioners  —  When the small, beleaguered city of Central Falls, R.I., filed for bankruptcy this month, it sought to cut the pension checks it has been sending its retired police officers, firefighters and other workers by as much as half.
Ben Quinn / Guardian:
David Starkey claims ‘the whites have become black’  —  Historian provokes storm of criticism after remarks during a televised discussion about the riots on BBC2's Newsnight  —  The historian and broadcaster David Starkey has provoked a storm of criticism after claiming during a televised discussion …
The Note:
Nikki Haley Calls Rick Perry's Timing for Announcement “Brilliant”  —  ABC News' Arlette Saenz (@arlettesaenz) reports: Hours before Perry's official announcement, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called Texas Governor Rick Perry's timing for his announcement “brilliant.”  —  “I think his timing was brilliant.
Discussion: CNN
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly:
They have no idea what they're doing  —  Journalistic standards and modern political norms place some restrictions on what a reporter can and will say in a news article.  It's what too often leads to unhelpful he-said-she-said reporting ("Eric Cantor today said two plus two equals five; Democrats and mathematicians disagreed").
David Brody / The Brody File:
Sarah Palin and The Brody File One-On-One at Iowa State Fair  —  Sarah Palin came over and agreed to do a one-on-one interview with me at the Iowa State Fair Friday afternoon.  Just her and me.  This took place during her private lunch reception.  I asked her to come over and talk with me and she did.
Discussion: The Hill
George's Bottom Line:
David Axelrod: Rick Perry Has a ‘Record of Decimation’  —  That's what the Obama campaign's top political strategist told me this morning when I asked him about the latest 2012 candidate, Rick Perry.  The Texas Governor made it clear his campaign will focus on his state's record of job growth …
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 More Items: 
New York Times:
Qaeda Trying to Harness Toxin for Bombs, U.S. Officials Fear
Discussion: The Jawa Report and Runnin' Scared
Alister Bull / Reuters:
Analysis: Confidence in Obama's leadership shaken
Scott Conroy / Real Clear Politics:
Palin Lays Out What Her Campaign Would Look Like
Discussion: Big Government and The Caucus
Cokie's Law vs. Social Security
Discussion: Blue Gal
Democracy Corps:
Voters Downgrade Washington
 Earlier Items: 
Ilana Curiel / Ynetnews:
Top Hamas engineer tells all
Discussion: Jihad Watch
U.S. consumer sentiment grim but retail sales jump
Discussion: Wizbang and Shot in the Dark
Ian Millhiser / ThinkProgress:
The Eleventh Circuit's Affordable Care Act Decision Cannot Be Squared With The Constitution
Keith Koffler / White House Dossier:
Michelle Obama Spent 42 Days on Vacation this Past Year
Colby Hall / Mediaite:
Joe Scarborough's Brutally Honest Take on Michele Bachmann: “She Is A Joke”